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Glossary of Terms
Glossary of Tests


Glossary Of Terms

Abduction: Motion directed away from the midline of the body. (Opposite of adduction.)
Active motion: Joint motion carried out by the patient.
Adduction: Motion toward the midline of the body.
Annulus fibrosis: The highly elastic fibrocarti laginous envelope about each intervertebral disk. A tear of this membrane and dislodging of the inner cartilage leads to extrusion of the nucleus pulposus of the disk.
Arthritis: Inflammation of a joint.
Arthroplasty: Surgery of a joint to make or increase movement.
Atrophy: Wasting away with diminution in size of cell, tissue, organ or part.
Bursa: A small fluid filled sac situated over the bony prominence (usually) and serving to relieve friction and pressure.
Cartilage: This tissue is commonly called gristle. It covers the ends of the bones and facilitates their gliding action within the joints.
Cervical: Pertaining to the neck.
Chondromalacia: Softness of the articular cartilage, usually involving the patella.
Clonus: Spasmodic alternation of muscular contraction and relaxation.
Crepitation: A crackling sound heard in certain conditions such as the rale heard in pneumonia or the grating sound heard on movement of ends of a broken bone.
Dislocation: The displacement of any part, more especially of a bone at a joint.
Dorsal: Refers to that region of the back which extends from the neck down to the lumbar region; also refers to the back, or posterior aspect of any part of an extremity.
Dorsiflexion: Bending toward the dorsal aspect, as the wrist refers to lifting the wrist up.
Dysplasia: Abnormality of development.
Dystrophy: Defective or faulty nutrition.
Effusion: Escape of fluid into a pad, as the pleural cavity, such as hemothorax (blood), pneumothorax (air), etc.
Extension: From an orthopaedic standpoint, this term is used to mean the straightening of a joint. The opposite of flexion or bending.
Flexion: (Bending) The opposite of extension or straightening.
Fusion: The formation of an ankylosis, either following injury, disease or surgically produced.
Hyperextension: Extreme or excessive extension.
Idiopathic: Of unknown cause.
Kyphosis: Humpback. Curving posteriorward.
Lateral: Outer. Away from the sagittal plane of the body.
Ligament: A band of fibrous tissue that connects bones or cartilage.
Lordosis: Curving anteriorward. Curvature of the spinal column with a forward convexity.
Lumbar: Pertaining to the part of the back which extends from the lowest ribs down to the upper border of the pelvis.
Orthopaedics: The branch of surgery which deals with the bones and joints and other structures closely related to them.
Paresthesia: Sensation of numbness, prickling or tingling or heightened sensitivity.
Passive motion: Movement of a patient's joint by a person who is examining or treating the patient. Contrast with active motion which is carried out by the patient himself.
Prespondylolisthesis (Spondylolysis): A vertebral defect predisposing to spondylolisthesis. The condition consists of a congenital anomaly causing a separation of the articular facets, usually in the lumbar spine, symptoms of low back pain and sciatica may result. Treatment consists of supports and other orthopaedic measures.
Sacrum: The lower five vertebrae fused together and joined with the pelvis.
Sacroiliac: The joint between the sacrum and pelvic bone and ilium.
Scoliosis: Abnormal curvature of the vertebral column, a lateral curvature.
Spinal Fusion Operation: A bone operation which results in strengthening of the spinal column by obliteration of the joints between some of the vertebrae.
Spondylolisthesis: A defect in a vertebra between the pedicle and the lamina with forward displacement of the upper facet and the vertebra above.
Supination: A turning of the hand so that the palm faces upward. The opposition of pronation.
Synovium: The lining of a joint.
Tendon: The strong fibrous cord or "leader" which connects a muscle to the bone which it is designated to move.
Thoracic: Pertaining to the thorax or chest.
Tonus: The slight, continuous contraction of muscle, which in skeletal muscles aid in the maintenance of posture and in the return of blood to the heart.
Traction: A pulling force, often provided by weights hung over the end of the bed and attached to some part of the body by means of tape, etc.


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